CALORIE RANT (Warning: long)
A calorie is a proposed unit of measure for energy – to be more specific, of heat potential.
The measure was first determined in a lab by burning nutrients and then measuring the heat that was expelled and naming the unit of energy a calorie.
It should however be noted that a calorie amount, even when it is calculated under ideal lab conditions, will have a 20% variance. This means that even if the calorie model was accurate (which it can’t be) and you work hard to limit your calorie intake to 1,500 calories per day, you may very well be consuming as much as 1,800 calories.
This model is very reliable when it is used in a closed, linear system. The first law of thermodynamics applies in a closed and linear system, and this law states that energy is not created or destroyed, and therefore calories in relating directly to calories out.
The human body with all its actions and functions is however an open, dynamic system. It is not a closed, isolated, or linear system. The law of thermodynamics, therefore, does not apply in the same way. This means that in the human body, calories in (energy) do NOT equal calories out.
We don’t burn nutrients like carbs, fat, and protein for energy. Our body use certain materials to build ATP which is a unit of potential energy, and the ATP can then be used to burn in our cellular furnaces to produce energy.
Our gut bacteria actually do most of our “digestion” for us and they determine what actually gets passed through into our body and what is eliminated as waste.
Depending on the gut-bacterial balance of good bacteria to bad, overall gut health, and absorption capacity, what gets passed into your body from the food you consume can vary by as much as 400%.
This means that the 500 calorie meal you just ate of the perfect balance of macro-nutrients can release the equivalent of 800 to 1200 calories of nutrients into your body. I know the math seems to be off, but the 400% is better for carbs and proteins and less so for fat, so I have used an average.
Proteins are used in every action and function of the body. They are used to produce hormones, neurotransmitters, immune cells, red blood cells, build tissues and much more. None of these functions have anything to do with being “burnt” for energy. Fatty acids are used to build and repair our cell walls, support our brain and liver, and build our skin. Glucose creates receptors on each of our cells, fills our glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, builds our biofilm, and feeds the bacterial population in and on our body.
Although I could go on and on, I hope this illustrates the crazy variations in the energetic, nutrient utilization complex that we call counting calories, and how it is simply WAY off, if even applicable.
So, what is more important than counting calories in weight loss and health?
- Food Quality over food Quantity. Eat real, whole foods that don’t need to be cooked to eat. I’m not saying you have to eat them raw, but if you have to cook them you should limit eating them.
- Eating less frequently, not less volume. Stick to real food and eat ALL you want, but don’t eat more than 3 meals per day. If you eat 3 meals in a day, don’t do that for more than 3 days in a row, but skip breakfast or dinner every now and then. Better yet, skip a full day of eating every week.
- Get lots of natural fats, but nothing that is chemically processed such as vegetable oils, soy, corn, or lard, and never margarine or Crisco.
- Exercise every day. Exercise helps your gut bacteria and your glycogen stores and keeps you hormonally sensitive.
- Get your nervous system in synch!
Other things you should do to keep healthy include:
- Get checked and adjusted by a chiropractor.
- Practice paced breathing – 5 seconds in, one-second hold, 5 seconds out, hold for one, and repeat for 3 to 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.
If you eat junk, count calories, cut back fat, and skip the exercise, your body will break down in what we call chronic disease. Period.
Please type any questions in the comments or send me a Direct Message and I will do my best to answer and help you!
Rant over……if you are still reading.
We can do better!